First Insight: As Stores Reopen, Consumers Feel Least Safe in Shopping Malls, Safest Shopping in Grocery and Drug Stores

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New Study Reveals that More Men Feel Safe Going In-Store than Women Overall

Consumers Prefer Their Own Masks and Gloves Over Those Provided By Stores

Pittsburgh, PA - April 24, 2020 -- As states nationwide consider how best to reopen stores while also protecting against further Coronavirus spread, a recent study by First Insight unveils consumer sentiment around feelings of safety when visiting several store formats.  According to First Insight, the majority of consumers surveyed would feel safest shopping in grocery stores (54 percent) and drug store chains (50 percent). Forty-five percent of consumers would feel safe shopping at big box retailers, and 43 percent saying the same when shopping at local small businesses and warehouse clubs, respectively. Malls were ranked lowest with only 33 percent of respondents saying they would feel safe shopping in these locations.

The survey also found that men feel much safer overall than women going back in-store. For example, while 58 percent of men feel safe shopping at a grocery store, only 49 percent of women feel the same. Similarly, 48 percent of men surveyed feel safe shopping at big box retailers, versus 43 percent of women, the smallest percentage difference. More men (47 percent) also feel safer than women (39 percent) shopping at local small businesses. 

First Insight’s latest survey also found that 80 percent of respondents prefer to use their own face masks and 75 percent prefer to use their own gloves rather than masks or gloves provided by the retailer when shopping in-store.

The results of the survey were announced today.  Download the infographic to see all the key findings from the study here.

“As retailers and brands grapple with big questions related to reopening stores, it’s clear from our findings that consumers have varying degrees of comfort within different store environments and formats,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight, the world’s leading customer-driven digital product testing solution for brands and retailers. “As retail visits expand past essential retail like grocery and drug stores, other retailers, and malls in particular, need to be thinking of ways to inspire a sense of safety for consumers, and it will need to go beyond offering gloves and masks at the door. It’s also likely that retailers will see more men in-store than women, and they should consider adjusting inventory to target these shoppers.”

The new findings were revealed as part of First Insight’s ongoing series of consumer sentiment studies entitled, “The Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer Purchase Decisions and Behaviors.” Now publishing the fourth study in the series, the company has been tracking consumer data since February 28, 2020, fielding additional studies on March 17, April 3, and April 20, 2020. Each survey sample is balanced by gender, geography and generation. Studies are completed using proprietary sample sources among panels who participate in online surveys.

Additional findings include:

  • Worry about the Coronavirus is subsiding slightly with a 6 percent decrease for the first time since February with 82 percent of respondents being worried on April 20th, versus 87 percent on April 3, 2020.
  • The impact of Coronavirus on consumer purchase decisions also ticked down slightly with a 10 percent decrease, with 80 percent of respondents saying Coronavirus has impacted their purchase decisions somewhat or significantly versus 89 percent at the time of the last survey.
  • The percent of consumers cutting back on spending due to Coronavirus has leveled out, with 62 percent of respondents reporting cutbacks in spending on both April 3 and April 20.

About First Insight, Inc.
First Insight is the world’s leading digital product testing and decision-making platform that empowers retailers and brands to incorporate the Voice of the Customer into the design, pricing, planning and marketing of new products. Through the use of online consumer engagement, the First Insight solution gathers real-time consumer data and applies predictive analytic models powered by machine learning and AI to create actionable insights, which drive measurable value. Retailers, manufacturers and brands use the First Insight solution to design, select, price, plan and market the most profitable new products for reduced markdown rates and improved sales, margins and inventory turnover. Customers include some of world’s leading vertically integrated brands, sporting goods companies, department stores, mass merchant retailers and wholesalers. For further information, please visit

Media Contact:
Berns Communications Group
Stacy Berns/Michael McMullan 212-994-4660 /

First Insight Contact:
Gretchen Jezerc
SVP of Marketing

mall  consumer preferences  grocery  CONSUMER REPORT  Coronavirus  COVID-19  Consumer Purchase Behavior  Men  Women  Consumer Survey  Safety  face masks  drug stores  shopping mall  gloves